Welcome back readers! This week our Travel Mommy Experts are focusing on the 20 ultimate packing tips and tricks for traveling with kids. These amazing international family travel bloggers have been sharing with us tips for traveling with kids over the last several weeks. If you missed any, check out: how to start planning your family vacation, how to save money on transportation, best way to choose family accommodations, and Sightseeing With Kids: Tips and Tricks. This week (5), Mommy And Me Travels is excited to bring you the 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks list for your needs when traveling with kids! We are going to break up the contributions into 5 categories with the top 4 tips for each category. That means you are getting the top 20 must know packing list for traveling with kids. Without further ado, let’s check out these tips.
4 Reasons you should travel with a First Aid kit
When we start packing the first thing most people think of is their clothes and toiletries needs. At Mommy And Me Travels, we always ensure that one of the first things we pack is a small first aid kit. This will save us a ton of headaches (no pun intended) during our travels. It is always better to error on the side of caution and have one and not need it, than to need it and not have one.
1. From World For A Girl
Keep a packing cube ready to grab and go that is filled with all your first aid items. “A travel First Aid Kit and so on. This system saves me so much time. I know that when we go on holiday next that all I need to do is fish out the already packed cubes and add some clean clothes. Try it, it’ll save you hours.” – Kirsty, World For A Girl
2. From GoFamGo
“…Our luggage always has a medicine kit for the most common health issues you can encounter while traveling. One issue that I don’t want to deal with is figuring out where the pharmacy is in an unfamiliar place. Not to mention, if they even carry the medicine that I am used to. It even gets more complicated when you are traveling abroad, where the medicine might be prohibited or carried in a different formulation. Set aside at least one packing cube for this. Make sure that if you are bringing a prescription-strength medication to bring a copy of the prescription with you. This is necessary during inspections in airport checkpoints, for example.” – Yamy provides her Staying Fit For Travel OTC Remedies here.
3. From Disabled Disney:
“As a person with a lot of medical problems and disabled my packing is a little different then a normal healthy person. I have to make sure I have my medications and in an adequate amount for my trip and whatever equipment I need. I travel with a shower stool and a wheelchair. I also bought a foldable cane for travel so if I don’t have a lot of room to store it, it folds up! My best tip is make sure your medications are in your carry on because if your luggage could get lost or held up you may not have your medications when you need them.” – Melissa from Disabled Disney (https://disableddisney.wixsite.com/website)
4. From Mommy And Me Travels
As we all know traveling with small kids means you are bound to have someone get bumps or bruises. I keep my First Aid Travel kit simple. I make sure to have band aids, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, Neosporin, and children’s Tylenol, Motrin, and Pepto. I have also been known to buy these sports kids kits off of Amazon for a quick grab and go to keep in the diaper bag. (Also, can be found in our “Shop With Us” store below.)
Next, let’s focus on how to travel light and the things that you need to know to implement all of our 20 ultimate packing tips and tricks when traveling with kids.
4 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks for Traveling Light
To check a bag or not to check a bag? If you are like me, that is a continual battle. As airlines continue to add fees for everything, the largest cost is still a checked bag. No worries, you normally can get away with just a carryon for everyone. How you might ask, well that is the first 4 tips and tricks in our 20 ultimate packing list that we are going to share with you today.
1. From Gadsventure:
“…When travelling for a long time, less is more. Have as few bags as humanly possible. There is nothing worse than getting off a plane with a bunch of kids, all refusing to carry their own backpacks, so Dad ends up being a pack horse while Mum headcounts the kids and the bags! – Follow Gadsventure on Instagram to see how their family is doing on their gap year with 4 young kids traveling through SE Asia in 2019.” – Gadsventure Instagram (https://instagram.com/gadsventure)
2. From State By State:
“…Often we think we will need something, then end up never using it. It is amazing what we really can live without. The less you bring with you means the less you have to keep track of and the less you have to bring back with you. Try to stick with the necessities and not over plan for every possible disaster. When moving into an RV it was difficult to decide what would come with us. The decision ultimately came down to how useful an item was. If something has multiple uses it makes it that much more appealing. Consider how you will use the item you are packing, if it is absolutely necessary, bring it.” – Check out Sarah’s article on We Minimalized Sort-of
3. From Dandelion Seeds:
“I’m an optimist, but with airlines having lost my checked luggage more than once (my bags went to Paris and Hawaii without me!), I try to pack light and use only carry-on bags. If I do need to check a suitcase, I use it to pack things I could replace if I had to. What stays with me includes everything my family will need within our first 24 hours at our destination: My child’s lovey (can’t sleep without it!), Our toiletry bag, Debit or credit cards, passports (for international travel), IDs, and insurance cards, One day’s worth of clothes if they fit in the bag, or at least new underwear and socks, My itinerary and confirmation numbers, and Phone charger.” – Sarah from Dandelion Seeds
4. From World Wise Kid:
“Backpack. Unless we are travel camping, we carry on our luggage. We know our personal items are safe and will arrive with us. We love Osprey packs with their synching straps, padded electronics sleeves and thick hip belts. These packs give us maximum flexibility when finding our lodging down a cobblestone street, across a rice field or over muddy dirt roads.” – Deborah at World Wise Kid (https://worldwisekid.com/)
I’m sure you are now thinking, “Great, how do I fit all of my items into a carry-on bag?”. Don’t stress, our next section is going to improve your packing tips and tricks with our secrets for using packing cubes.
4 Reasons that Packing Cubes are all the hype
Have you heard about Packing Cubes? I’m sure if you have read any articles about how to pack for a vacation you have read about packing cubes. You might ask what all of the hype is about and are they really worth the investment. At Mommy And Me Travels we use packing cubes for ALL of our trips, even for a short overnight local get away (you can see our recommended ones in the “Shop With Us” area below). Here are 4 ideas to help you pick your right packing cubes.
1. From World For A Girl
“…Packing is definitely something that I start thinking about a week or two before each trip jotting down items on a handwritten list. We travel a lot and the longest that we’ve spent continuously on the road with the kids is 14 weeks. I’d like to think that we’ve got our packing strategy down to a tee. One item that has made our packing and re-packing easier is packing cubes. These simple fabric/mesh zip bags come in lots of sizes. We use them to keep everyone’s clothes separate. Even the kids know exactly which cube all the socks live in!” – Bonus, check out Kirsty’s Family Travel Packing Essentials
2. From Mommy And Me Travels
Buy different color packing cubes. I usually can get our assigned clothing list (list in kids packing tricks and tips section) into one cube per person. The medium/large cubes are great for the adults and then as you can use the small/extra small for the kid’s items. I love packing cubes because I quickly can locate each person’s clothes and not have to pull everything out of the bag to locate that one item that is hiding at the bottom.
3. From Full Time Field Trip
“…You might assign colored packing cubes to each day of your vacation ROY-G-BIV style. Everyone’s Monday clothes in red, Tuesday in orange, etc. [First], You should make your clothes fit the cube. This may mean laying all items flat, folding them in unusual ways, or rolling them. Experiment with the cube size and the folding until you get it just right. [Second], Make the packing cubes fit the luggage. Experiment with various configurations until you get the most out of it. This might mean one bag uses one medium, one small, and three size slim packing cubes. While another piece of luggage uses two smalls and four slims. [Third], packing cubes can serve as drawers whenever you go. Or you can actually unpack, then use them in reverse for dirty clothes.” – Full Time Field Trip (https://fulltimefieldtrip.com)
4. From Gadsventure
“Packing cubes are by far and away the number one best way to pack, especially when you have a lot of people to cater for. We got ours from Amazon. Each person has their own colour coordinated set, with one bag containing 5 sets of clothing, and a smaller bag for socks, underwear and swimwear. Now 2 weeks in, we are able to cull anything we haven’t been using in order to make our bags even lighter. We always find that you only really wear the same few items over and over again.”
Now that we have covered packing cubes and how they are part of the 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks guide, let’s see how you can use these wonderful devices to get the kids involved in packing.
4 Kids Packing Tricks and Tips
Get the kids involved in packing for an upcoming trip. This teaches them great life lessons that they will be able to continue to develop as they grow. Not to mention, this will help alleviate the fights of them not wanting to wear something that mom or dad packed. Let’s hear how some of our mommies have their kids help with packing.
1. From Tips From A Typical Mom:
“One thing I would say though is, make sure you check your kids bags if you let them pack themselves. You don’t want to arrive in Hawaii and have a bunch of winter clothes and no swimming suits packed! I usually make a checklist of things they need to pack so they can feel like they are independent, but I have them lay everything out on their beds and go and make sure they made good choices before they pack their bags. It’s a time-saver for us to do it this way.” – Bonus, check out Annette’s tips on packing Jewelry For No Tangled Mess
2. From Mommy And Me Travels:
I like to give a list to my kids and have them pick out their favorites of these items on the list. Here is our quick hitting 1 week packing list for each person that I print and provide to my kiddos: 2 (maybe 3) pairs of pants/shorts, 4 shirts, 7 pairs of underwear, 1 swimsuit, 7 pairs of socks. Some might think, no way can we pack so little. Remember most of the time you will be doing different activities so you can wear those pair of jeans more than once. And, if they do get dirty, just wash them in the sink or the bathtub. You can easily hand wash the clothes and hang them to dry. Viola, clean clothes!
3. From Grab My Passport:
“Quick tip we learned on our Orlando trip was all about taking advantage of checked car seats. Most airlines let you check a car seat for free, but they don’t specify that if you place your car seat in a protective carrier, that you can only put a car seat in it. We were able to toss a week’s worth of diapers in there with plenty of room to spare! Just tuck the diapers (or whatever) in the seat, buckle them in so they don’t get tossed around, and voilà, more space saved in your suitcase!”
4. From Captivating Compass:
“…Teaching kids to pack for an entire trip, regardless of length or destination in just a carry on is doable! I’ve used the same checklist for nearly 15 years and it has never failed me (or the rest of the family). It’s simple and easy enough for most 7-year-olds to do practically by themselves. The key is to give the kids the list and let them create their ‘outfit piles’ according to the list. Then, before it all goes in the carry-on, it is checked by an adult. Finally, outfits are put into a zipper-lock bag and it’s done! This method has worked so well for our family that we have been able to pack for 3 weeks in Switzerland (in the winter) using just a carry-on and backpack!” – You can check out Shannan’s full packing tutorial at https://www.captivatingcompass.com/packing-with-kids/.
Get the kids involved early and often to build a packing foundation that will last a lifetime. They will learn from you and be able to pass on their own ultimate packing tips and tricks to their children.
4 Tips and Tricks for when you arrive at your Destination
To wrap up our tips, let’s focus on what you need to prepare for your destination. Here are some tried and true packing tips and tricks that have helped all of us mommies sleep better the night before a vacation because we know what to expect when we get our next adventurous vacation.
1. From Yorkshire Wonders:
“We travel frequently to Greece on a low cost airline. The flight ticket allows one carry on each and any extra bags need to be paid for. We usually just pay for one bag and then each take a good sized carry on. Usually we can check in the carry on at the travel desk for no extra cost which saves a great deal of money. My tip is to divide the families clothes between the bags and then if one is lost at least you all still have some clothes!” – Visit her article on Family Friendly Stoupa Greece
2. From Grab My Passport
“One of my latest discoveries is grocery delivery services! On our recent week-long trip to Orlando, and our first with our newborn, I discovered Instacart and it was the greatest! I packed enough snacks and baby formula to get us through two days. Then, our first night in the hotel we signed up for Instacart’s free trial and placed our first order. We bought snacks, milk, bananas, yogurt, and baby formula. It arrived at our hotel lobby so quickly and everything was fresh! There are a lot of these types of services in the US, so check out what’s available in your travel area before you head out to help save some room in your suitcase.” – Shannon from Grab My Passport (http://www.grabmypassport.com)
3. From World Wise Kid:
“Educational tools. It’s hard to leave the paper travel guides and books behind but for minimalist travel, we have converted to ebooks on the Kindle and tablets. A library subscription gives us access to print resources. We use downloadable audio guides to destinations, and supplement studies with podcasts and YouTube videos. Each of the kids carry only an academics notebook and a journal/sketchpad for studies.”
4. From Mommy And Me Travels
In today’s environment there are many many many ways to find compact items of everything you need to travel with kids. One thing we love to do is take our Midfold car seat on trips. This car seat is so compact that it just tucks right into our luggage and we don’t think about it till we get off the plane. This allows our son to be safe no matter what form of transportation we are using on the ground. (You can find more about it in the “Shop With Us” area below.
Traveling with a carseat? Check out these additional tips for How to Travel with a Car Seat (without losing your cool)
Did you find the top 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks when Traveling with Kids helpful? We love to hear any ideas or suggestions that you have in the comments below. Let us know what you tried and what worked or didn’t work for your family. Our collaboration series only has a few weeks left. Don’t miss any of our upcoming tips and tricks. If you accidently missed any, check them out here:
5 – 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks when Traveling With Kids (This Post)
6 – Saving Money On Food While Traveling
7 – Road Trip Tips
8 – International Travel Tips
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